In Search of Ancient Roots

Kenneth J. Stewart: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis

In Search of Ancient Roots
The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis
(IVP Academic, 2017)

WHO: Kenneth J. Stewart, professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

HE SAYS: “This book represents my effort to come to terms with the emergence among younger (and quite thoughtful) Christians of today of an idea that is ready to discount (or at least relativize) the value of the evangelical Protestant tradition.”

THE BIG IDEA: Evangelical Christianity has been a perennial though not solitary strand of the Christian faith. Evangelical Christian contributions to the study of the intertestamental literature, early Christian writings and the Church Fathers have been plentiful. What many people leave the faith in order to go find actually exists in evangelicalism.

THE PROGRESSION: Part 1 sets the stage for the book: an evangelical identity crisis. The author shows that a principle of authority and a concept of development in doctrine are needed to appraise the Christian past.
Part 2 is a collection of examples of how evangelicalism has engaged with ancient Christianity while Part 3 offers contemporary examples.
Part 4 presents three challenges that remain: Is Christian unity dependent on a bishop of Rome? Is justification as protestants teach it the historic faith of the church? And why are younger evangelicals turning to orthodoxy?

“Ken Stewart examines five centuries of Protestant engagement with the ancient church, showing that evangelicals have the resources to claim their place at the ecumenical table.”

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“Evangelicals are questioning their evangelical identity, but Kenneth Stewart contends if the ‘leavers’ re-examine evangelicalism’s history carefully, they will discover that the very features they think are lacking in modern evangelicalism actually are lifelong features of evangelicalism.”

Evaluated by Scot McKnight,author or editor of some 60 books and the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois.